Product Owner Nerves

Perhaps it is the meds I’m on (in Bangalore at the beginning of mosquito season with particularly tasty blood and a nasty reaction), but even after all these years this week I started to question the scrum product owner role ‘in’ the team.

Is the product owner really able to step back and let the team get on with it, as seems to be the case in so many teams?  Am I mad, considering a fellow coach seemed horrified at the prospect of adding the PO’s to the team stand ups.

And then I did what I have been doing for 15 years – I canvassed opinion – from real live people and the dark corners of the interweb.  It is a fairly well discussed topic and when I read one particular blog post it reminded me of the product owner’s responsibility and why they are the dirtiest pig in scrum..they are the single wring-able neck for the product :)..  this is why I always push for the PO to be in the team and not ‘served’ by it.

Now I just need to get clean 🙂

Scrum Master..An Agile Oxymoron

One of my favourite transitions is helping people become a successful Scrum Master.  It’s very heartening to see an individual become a whole human being, not simply concerned with timelines and figures but happy, empowered and delivering to boot.

Too often though this can be the most challenging task and far too often the individual is blamed when the impediment exists in the very title Scrum Master. Let’s consider the top 5 definitions from


    1. a person with the ability or power to use, control, or dispose of something: a master of six languages; to be master of one’s fate.


  1. an owner of a slave, animal, etc.
  2. an employer of workers or servants.
  3. the male head of a household.
  4. a person eminently skilled in something, as an occupation,art, or science.
The top four definitions imply ownership or control – the opposite of the Scrum Master Role, and very far removed from Agile.  Not until number 5 do we come even close to what we mean.  A Scrum Master is expected to be skilled in Scrum, to coach and help the team keep a heartbeat, to always strive for better and to feel he can effectively remove anything that blocks the teams progress.  With these descriptions of Master in mind, is it really so unbelievable when the new Scrum Master resorts to command and control.  Or indeed when the organisation diverts his attention to reporting and is shocked when he tries to effect change.


Why Agile? The Top 3 Key Questions to Ask Your Customer

Agile coaching can help companies make valuable changes in their business practices, sometimes even reaching into peoples personal lives in a positive manner too.  However I’ve come to realise that preaching the Agile principles and consulting, are not easy bedfellows.

Many of us in the Agile space have struggled when faced with the realisation that Agile may not benefit a team or customer at all, indeed in some it can even cause detriment (particularly so when faced with a lack of sponsorship, value or direction). Many consultants will carry on regardless, trying to force their particular brand of Agile onto organisations who just plain aren’t ready for change. Worse still are the Agile consultancies who preach Best Practice and continue reaping fees, all the time knowing they are adding no real value.

It may be difficult in these times to turn down regular well paid consulting work, particularly when Agile is seen as the next big thing – eager faces and enthusiasm can be very alluring, as can a regular paycheck.  However all successful coaches pick their teams just as much as their team picks them, and to this end here are my top three questions to consider asking your next customer. Read More

Agile Retrospectives Wiki-Wonderful

I found an exciting place today to share ideas and learn new Agile tips and tricks on holding retrospectives…in my opinion these are the most powerful tool in our Agile arsenal and often forgotten!

For those of you who are interested in improving how you work I’d recommend you pay a visit
Real people sharing their experiences and ideas – for free too!

My apologies for the short post 🙂